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PROPTECH-X ‘Property & Property News’: Rental demand | Sustainable retrofitting

Rental demand at all time high

PRESS RELEASE: Demand for private rental housing is at an all time high according to new research being published by the National Residential Landlords Association.

A survey of private landlords across England and Wales, conducted in partnership with the research consultancy BVA/BDRC, found that 57 per cent confirmed that demand for homes to rent had increased in the third quarter of 2021 – up from 39 per cent in the second quarter of the year.

At the onset of the first COVID lockdown in the second quarter of 2020 just 14 per cent of landlords reported tenant demand having increased.

In a sign of recovery in the market, landlords operating in London have seen a significant uptick in demand compared to the levels reported throughout the pandemic as workers returned to the capital.

68 per cent of landlords operating in outer London reported demand having increased, up from 25 per cent in the third quarter of 2020. In central London, 54 per cent reported increased demand, up from 16 per cent at the same time last year.

Elsewhere, landlords operating in the South West reported the strongest demand with 79 per cent saying that demand had increased in the third quarter of the year. This was followed by 74 per cent in the South East (excluding London), 73 per cent in Wales and 71 per cent in the West Midlands.

Despite the booming demand, the same proportion of landlords plan to reduce the number of properties they rent out as plan to increase them at 19 per cent.

It comes as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has warned of rents increasing as a result of the “mismatch between supply and demand.”

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said:

“As demand picks up following lockdown measures we need a stimulus to support responsible landlords to provide the homes to rent we vitally need. Without this it will ultimately be tenants that suffer as a result of less choice, higher rents and the resulting difficulties they will encounter when looking to become homeowners”.

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21.3 million UK properties need sustainable retrofits

PRESS RELEASE: Proptech investment platform houzen has highlighted the scale of the work required to reduce carbon emissions from residential properties in the UK. Known for its innovative use of property data, the company has put the issue of sustainable retrofits under the microscope. Its algorithms have revealed that some 21.3 million UK properties will need some kind of sustainable retrofit in order to make a positive impact on the planet.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“Having analysed the COP26 pledges in detail, it’s frightening to see how many long-term promises have been included. These effectively kick commitments to the curb until it is too late – they are false promises that will result in countless lives being lost and livelihoods destroyed. It’s the action we take in the next few years that will be key to curbing global warming. Aiming to change by 2050 or later is not good enough.”

Eashita Saxena, Sustainability Analyst, houzen

According to the houzen team, both individual homeowners and the housing industry as a whole can begin making changes immediately. Cities are currently responsible for 71-76% of energy related CO2 emissions, with the construction and operation of buildings, along with the manufacture of the materials required to build them, playing a major role in this. 

The solution to the construction sector’s problem emissions is not complex, but it will take time, money and effort. There’s a need for extensive collaboration across the supply chain in order to promote sustainable practices and reduce embodied emissions.

Modern methods of construction have a clear role to play here. Low-carbon solutions and circular solutions are already available. But they need to be implemented at scale. And, of course, who should foot the bill for this is under intense debate.

Some companies are committing their own funds – French multinational Saint-Gobain is a leading example of this – but there is still a major need for government support with the cost of implementing more sustainable practices. Patrick Vallance, the UK government’s chief scientific advisor, acknowledges that cost is an issue, stating that “We have many of the technologies needed to tackle the problem but they need to be improved,” and that technologies that can help reduce emissions need to “come down in cost, they need to increase in convenience, they need to be applicable right across the globe and we need to scale them.”

There’s an educational element at play too. The Construction Leadership Council, for example, has joined forces with ITN Productions Industry News to deliver a ‘Building a Greener Britain’ programme aimed at delivering a zero-carbon built environment. The programme explores the cutting-edge construction methods that focus on sustainability.

At present, the building materials and construction sector accounts for an estimated 40% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. This is why the sector is so key to efforts to reduce the rate of global warming, in addition to what individual homeowners are able to achieve in the buildings that already exist.

“What’s worrying is that even if the construction sector and global governments pour money into this right now – significantly more than they are at present – we’re still facing a rise of up to 2.7°C by the end of this century. Governments’ current policies simply aren’t enough. We need radical change to the way we build and operate our homes and other buildings, not more pledges and targets that won’t be hit.”

Eashita Saxena, Sustainability Analyst, houzen

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Andrew Stanton Founder & Editor of 'PROPTECH-X' where his insights, connections, analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are based on writing 1.3M words annually. Plus meeting 1,000 Proptech founders, critiquing 400 decks and having had 130 clients as CEO of 'PROPTECH-PR', a consultancy for Proptech founders seeking growth and exit strategies. He also acts as an advisory for major global real estate companies on sales, acquisitions, market positioning & operations. With 100K followers & readers, he is the 'Proptech Realestate Influencer.'